cats – research

29 11 2009

I have written before about the animated version of the ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER musical CATS, that went into preproduction 1991 in STEVEN SPIELBERG’S studio AMBLIMATION in london. I was supposed to design the look of the film, and I spent a lot of time researching some rather ‘unusual’ london environments. we were looking for the trashiest spots we could find. these research trips were lots of fun and I still have tons of ‘trash’ photographs. in the picture below you can see the research team, the directors SIMON WELLS and PHIL NIBBELINK together with the producer CINDY WOODBURNE, and with the CATS-musical stage designer JOHN NAPIER.

afterwards I usually did rough sketches and worked out stylized views with tipp-ex correction white on black cardboard. later I painted a selection of these roughs with felt-pen and gouache. below are some of them





© andrew lloyd webber / amblin / universal pictures / john napier

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6 responses

29 11 2009
Scott

Dreadful musical. Glad it got shit canned as a movie. I’d prefer to look at your artwork. It’s more musical.

29 11 2009
Michael Sporn

I never quite understood why this project was shelved. I have a copy of the Tom Stoppard script and could transfer to screen quite well. Your artwork, this as well as other pieces you’ve posted, indicate something quite extraordinary.

I assume the end has all to do with business.

30 11 2009
gabey

hi sir,

i must say…i’ve always loved those tipp-ex correction white on black cardboard paintings of yours. I’m a huge black and white sketch fan…and to see these posted up made my day! thanks very much.

i would like to ask as well if that animated film of Cats was ever released? I’d like to see the film since this post has sparked a curiosity in me. :) Thank you, again

from hans –
it’s a sad story, the film was shelved while I was in london. that’s why I got a chance to design BALTO. a few years later design work started again on CATS, this time in L.A. a new team without me did a lot of beautiful paintings. and again the film was shelved, as far as I remember around 1997. that was it – so far. who knows…

1 12 2009
gabey

wonder if it will ever get a chance to come out again. it’s a great opportunity for new animation concept and styles to be used on that story..especially around this time, where more animation techniques aside from 3D’s being used.

hopefully they could at least publish those paintings. it’s be a great source of inspiration for the new batch of animators and animation students.

2 03 2010
benedict hilliard

Well I never, that area has totally changed now with the likes of Tracy Emin in residence and the gentrification of the whole Brick Lane area.
( I’m the guy in the back of the picture John Napiers studio manager/associate designer)

25 11 2010
Belle

Thankyou google for directing me here! While I’m not sure I can envision Cats in animation (I’m a fan of the stage show) your artwork is beautiful! I’m particularly interested to hear that this project didn’t get finally shelved til 1997, the year the live-action video of the show was made…

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